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Prickly geckos
Heteronotia - Wermuth, 1965

Pronunciation: 'varied back'.1
Etymology: HET-err-oh-NOH-tee-ah

Taxonomic notes:

Statistics: Reproductive modes:
Oviparous - 5 out of 5 Australian species

Size range:
Smallest Australian species: pale-headed gecko (Heteronotia fasciolatus) at 4.8 cm
 Longest Australian species: black Pilbara gecko (Heteronotia atra) at 5.85 cm
Number of Australian species: 5

black Pilbara gecko (Heteronotia atra)
Harding River Dam, Northern Territory
Photo © Brad Maryan
black Pilbara gecko (Heteronotia atra) distribution range map Heteronotia atra
Black Pilbara gecko
Year described
Pepper, Doughty, Fujita, Moritz and Keogh 2013
"Distinguished from congeners by large body size (to 62.5 mm SVL), gracile habitus, elongate head (to 11.72 mm HeadW), long slender limbs and tail, greatly enlarged tympanum, typically 10 supralabials and 8 infralabials, enlarged dorsal tubercles in contact with each other at anterior and posterior edges of scale and usually to either side or separated with at most a few small granules, and melanistic ‘charcoal’ coloration."2

Bynoe's gecko (Heteronotia binoei)
Katherine, Northern Territory
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
Bynoe's gecko (Heteronotia binoei) distribution range map Heteronotia binoei
Bynoe's gecko
Year described
(Gray 1845)

pale-headed gecko (Heteronotia fasciolatus)
West Macdonnell Ranges, Northern Territory
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
pale-headed gecko (Heteronotia fasciolatus) distribution range map Heteronotia fasciolatus
Pale-headed gecko
Year described
Pepper, Doughty, Fujita, Moritz and Keogh 2013
"Distinguished from congeners by medium body size (to 57.0 mm SVL), slightly robust habitus, moderately wide head (to 13.7 mm HeadW), tail stout at base, small tympanum, typically 8 or 9 supralabials and 6 or 7 infralabials, enlarged dorsal tubercles surrounded by at least one smaller granule anterior and posterior to scale, and usually two smaller granules to sides, dorsum with 6–8 strongly contrasting bands; edges of bands with dark brown border and irregular edge (some bands breaking up), top of head pale."2

north-west prickly gecko (Heteronotia planiceps)
North-west Kimberley, Western Australia
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
north-west prickly gecko (Heteronotia planiceps) distribution range map Heteronotia planiceps
North-west prickly gecko
Year described
Storr 1989

desert cave gecko (Heteronotia spelea)
Pilbara, Western Australia
Photo © Jordan Vos
desert cave gecko (Heteronotia spelea) distribution range map Heteronotia spelea
Desert cave gecko
Year described
(Kluge 1963)

  1. Ehmann, Harald (1992). Encyclopedia of Australian animals: Reptiles. Angus and Robertson. 495 pp - search web for this book
  2. Pepper, Mitzy AND Doughty, Paul AND Fujita, Matthew K. AND Moritz, Craig AND Keogh, J. Scott (2013). Speciation on the Rocks: Integrated Systematics of the Heteronotia spelea Species Complex (Gekkota; Reptilia) from Western and Central Australia Species Complex (Gekkota; Reptilia) from Western and Central Australia. PLoS ONE, 8(11):1-17.
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